05/12/15 10:00am
05/12/2015 10:00 AM
Brothers James (left) and Paul Hayes will play together in college. (Credit: Michael Lewis)

Brothers James (left) and Paul Hayes will play together in college. (Credit: Michael Lewis)

When James and Paul Hayes attend LIU Post this fall, one thing is certain: They should have no problems with familiarizing themselves with their respective roommates.

There is a pretty good reason — the twins will be rooming together their freshman year. (more…)

01/30/15 2:00pm
01/30/2015 2:00 PM
James (left) and Paul Hayes took their soccer game to Florida where they helped lead their club team to a title. (Credit: Michael Lewis)

James (left) and Paul Hayes took their soccer game to Florida where they helped lead their club team to a title. (Credit: Michael Lewis)

Winning never gets old or tiresome for the Hayes twins.

A little more than a month after helping Mattituck High School earn the New York State Class B championship, James and Paul Hayes celebrated yet another title. The seniors played vital roles for the Middle Country United ISA Boys Under-18 team, which captured the Disney Showcase Black U-18/19 Division title in Orlando, Fla.  (more…)

11/15/14 11:22am
11/15/2014 11:22 AM
From left, Mattitucks' Axel Rodrigues-Canel and Ryan Foster celebrate a goal against Skaneateles in the NYSPHSAA Class B semifinals in Middletown Saturday. (Credit: Sarah Jean Condon)

From left, Mattitucks’ Axel Rodrigues-Canel and Ryan Foster celebrate a goal against Skaneateles in the NYSPHSAA Class B semifinals in Middletown Saturday. (Credit: Sarah Jean Condon)

CLASS B STATE SEMIFINALS  |  TUCKERS 6, LAKERS 0

Referee Larry Bechard blew his whistle to signify the end of play.

The score was 5-0 in favor of Mattituck as the happy Tuckers walked off the Twin Towers Middle School field in Middletown, N.Y. smiling and hugging each other for a job well done.

And it was only halftime of the New York State Class B semifinals against Skaneateles Saturday morning.

In their most dominating performance of the season, the Tuckers made that score stand up and then some, adding another goal late in the match to register a 6-0 triumph over the Section III school. Mattituck (18-2) will gun for its third state title at Middletown H.S. at 10 a.m. Sunday against Beekmantown (Section VII; 18-2-0), 1-0 winners over Livonia.

The Tuckers would have preferred to have played Livonia, which eliminated them from the state semifinals in 2012, but you don’t always get what you want.

On Saturday, though, the Tuckers seemingly did whatever they wanted against the Lakers (17-3-1). Senior Mario Arreola led the way with two goals and one assist. Freshman Axel Rodrigues-Canel, called up from the JV, put the exclamation point on a virtuoso performance with 5:24 remaining on a cold, crisp, 37-degree morning.

“I don’t like the cold,” Arreola said. “Scoring goals keeps me warm, running around. I played the best soccer I’ve played in a long time today.”

Actually, Arreola and the Tuckers were more than warm. They were hot.

“The first 40 minutes was some of the best soccer that you can possibly watch, not even just from our own team,” Mattituck coach Mat Litchhult said. “It was our best 40 minutes. I was really, extremely proud of the ways the guys came out and dealt with the cold, got up early. From the opening whistle, they were dominant.”

Litchhult felt the loss to Livonia was part of his senior-laden team’s motivation.

“Being here as sophomores and the feeling of going home after the semifinals really pushed them and drove them,” he said. “Knowing that most of these guys are seniors and knowing the end is near you just have to leave it on the field. What we talked about before the match, these are great opportunities and big players rise to big occasions. I can’t point to somebody on our team who had a down match. Every single player that stepped on the field rose to the occasion.”

The Tuckers made quick work of the Lakers. Walter Jacob, a left back, scored off an Arreola pass at 8:20. Paul Hayes headed in a Kaan Ilgin corner kick at 12:58. Arreola put home a John Batuello feed from the top of the penalty area at 27:07 before James Hayes headed home a Kevin Williams corner kick at the right far post at 29:06 and Arreola scored on a breakaway with 2:01 left in the half.

It was then left up to the defense and goalkeepers Ben Knowles and Nick Vitolano, who came on with 4:08 left, to secure the clean sheet.

Litchhult had to call a few audibles. Instead of attending the state banquet Friday night, the team ate at a local Italian restaurant.

“Litch wanted us to stay away from Skaneateles, just wanted to keep our heads away from them,” Paul Hayes said. “There were some Twitter battles. It was a smart call.”

The Tuckers were scheduled to eat breakfast in the same room of their hotel room Saturday morning, but Litchhult thought better of it and brought in bagels, bananas, water and Gatorade for the team to eat in their rooms.

“It is kind of a weird setup,” he said. “When you are a few doors down from the team you’re playing in the same hallway in the hotel, separated by maybe or door or two, it kind of leads to some awkward tension.

“I didn’t think it would be an opportunity for us to go down there and rub elbows with a team that we’re going to be stepping onto the field with in a couple of hours. It didn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

Unlike their some of their recent championship wins, the Tuckers did not celebrate after this one.

“It’s not over yet,” Paul Hayes said. “It’s great to win 6-0. I’m smiling. I’m happy, I’m speechless. But my goal is to win tomorrow.”

The Mattituck boys soccer team celebrates its 6-0 win over Skaneateles Saturday in the Class B state semifinals. (Credit: Michael Lewis)

The Mattituck boys soccer team celebrates its 6-0 win over Skaneateles Saturday in the Class B state semifinals. (Credit: Michael Lewis)

11/15/14 9:05am
Mattituck's Kaan Ilgin was one of three players selected as all-state this season. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

Mattituck’s Kaan Ilgin was one of three players selected as all-state this season. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)

On the eve of their state Class B semifinal game, three Mattituck Tuckers were named to the New York State small schools boys soccer all-state team during opening ceremonies in Middletown on Friday night.  (more…)

08/27/14 10:00am
08/27/2014 10:00 AM
Mattituck players loosen up during Monday morning's practice in Aldrich Lane. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Mattituck players loosen up during Monday morning’s practice in Aldrich Lane. (Credit: Garret Meade)

For the first time in a long time, there was a new look and feel to the Mattituck High School boys soccer team’s first practice of the season Monday morning.

Because workers were putting the finishing touches on the new track at the school, the Tuckers’ training session was held at the soccer fields on Aldrich Lane in Laurel where the Mattituck Soccer Club typically plays.

They had the complex to themselves. There were no distractions on what was a beautiful, sunny August morning. (more…)

08/04/14 11:05pm
08/04/2014 11:05 PM
Kaan Ilgin assisted on Mattituck's goal against Miller Place in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools final. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Kaan Ilgin assisted on Mattituck’s goal against Miller Place in the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools final. (Credit: Garret Meade)

The unofficial mantra for the Mattituck boys soccer team at Diamond in the Pines in Coram on Monday night went something like this: Better now than in November.

Better to lose in the small schools championship game of the Town of Brookhaven Summer League on Aug. 4 than to lose in the Suffolk County Class B final on the very same field on Nov. 1. (more…)

08/05/13 11:39pm
08/05/2013 11:39 PM
GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck's James Hayes in an aerial duel with Elwood/Jophn Glenn's James Groark.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Mattituck’s James Hayes in an aerial duel with Elwood/John Glenn’s James Groark.

Diamond in the Pines in Coram never will be confused with Wembley in England, Maracana Stadium in Rio or even Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. But the sports complex has become a must destination site for some of the best Suffolk County soccer teams come the fall.

And that includes the Mattituck High School boys’ soccer side. The Tuckers, who spent a good portion of the summer playing at the facility, hope to return to it for the Suffolk Class B final on Nov. 2.

This year’s version of the team already has some vital experience winning a big game on the artificial turf, earning the Town of Brookhaven Summer League small schools title behind a 3-2 triumph over Elwood/John Glenn on Monday.

Winning the summer league obviously isn’t as big as the county crown, but it certainly will get the Tuckers into the right frame of mind.

“It’s huge,” goalkeeper Steve Ostrowski said. “I don’t remember the last time Mattituck did this. My brother [Peter, a center back] two years ago, they got pretty close and they lost on penalty kicks, so this is huge for me. It’s just really exciting.”

And it will be more exciting come November.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Paul Hayes and his Mattituck teammates are Brookhaven Summer League small school champions.

GARRET MEADE PHOTO | Paul Hayes and his Mattituck teammates are Brookhaven Summer League small school champions.

“It’s always great to be back here,” Ostrowski said. “It’s just the feeling knowing that you’re the best in the league. And it’s Mattituck tradition.”

Midfielder Paul Hayes had a slightly different take. “I don’t want to be compared to last year’s team [which reached the state semifinals],” he said. “This is a new team. I’d just love to be back here, hopefully going back to states. That’s my goal.”

Will Hayes, the coach of the summer team, hoped that the Tuckers will be back there in a few months.

“If you’re a high school kid, that’s what you live for,” he said. “It’s what you want to do. That’s why you play. It’s fun, but you want to win. You want to get out there in the championship game and test yourselves against the best teams and see in the end how good you are.”

The Tuckers will get one more test this summer. They will meet Central Islip, a 1-0 winner over Ward Melville in the boys’ large school final Monday, in the varsity championship game at the complex at 6:45 p.m. on Wednesday.

Playing a larger team does not faze the Tuckers.

“I just want to show them up,” midfielder Chris Hayes said. “I don’t think they’re really expecting too much out of us. But they don’t know us as well.”

Will Hayes remembered when he coached the junior varsity team to the small schools final two years ago. “We got to the final, and sat them down and said, ‘We’re not supposed to win. The big school always wins,’ ” he said. “I think the big school has won every time but three on the JV level.”

Mattituck lost to Sachem on penalties, 7-6.

That was far from the case Monday. Only 3 minutes 20 seconds into the game, the Tuckers received a reality check as Jonny Schefer gave Glenn a 1-0 lead.

“That woke us up right away,” midfielder Paul Hayes said. “This team is not as great as us. We should be winning this game. We just got back into our game plan.”

“It was really intense,” Ostrowski said. “They gave a run the first time we played them. They scored first. Getting scored on first never really has been a problem for us. It was a battle back and forth the whole game. We got caught into their game a little bit, the kick and run. But in the end we pulled it out.”

Less than four minutes later it was tied at 1-1 as Mario Arreola motored down the left side and scored.

Oscar Puluc scored at 12:50, shaking his fist in triumph en route to a 2-1 lead. Only 40 seconds into the second half, Erik Schwartz put in a rebound of Puluc’s shot off the crossbar for a 3-1 lead, a goal the Tuckers needed because Corey Ainsworth brought Glenn within striking distance with Ostrowski pulled out of the goalmouth at 32:40.

Glenn threw just about everything but the proverbial kitchen sink at Mattituck over the final 15 minutes as the Tuckers withstood the pressure.

“It says that we’re experienced,” Ostrowski said. “We’re ready. We’ve got ice blood, basically. We don’t crack under pressure.”